Reds legend Mick McCarthy believes Barnsley will stay in the Championship this season under his friend Danny Wilson but hopes their charge to safety begins after they welcome his club Ipswich Town to Oakwell tomorrow.
McCarthy, who turns 55 today, has led Ipswich to seventh in the Championship table but is wary of his former club. The match is the first of five in 20 day which could be crucial for the second-bottom Reds. Barnsley man McCarthy – who played 272 games for the Reds between 1977 and 1983 – told the Chronicle: "I would like Barnsley to stay up. They are my home town club.
"With Danny Wilson as manager they have got every chance of staying up. He has the happy knack of building winning football teams and I am sure he will do that at Barnsley. I just hope this weekend is the exception. I think Dave Flitcroft did a great job last season but the board made the decision they made and I don't think they could have picked a better man than Danny.
"I think it's a great appointment. Danny is the most successful manager in the club's history. He took them to the Premiership and he brought a buoyancy to the whole town. 'It's just like watching Brazil' and all that. It was a great time for Barnsley. Danny's a good mate of mine. He's a likeable guy. No one has a bad word to say about him and that is very unusual for someone who has been involved in football for so long."
McCarthy's only win as a manager at Oakwell came with Millwall in May 1994 just before Wilson made the transition from Reds player to boss. McCarthy's Wolves also won promotion with a draw at Barnsley in 2009.
The former Ireland boss said: "I've not won there for a while as a manager but I won there a lot as a player when I was at Barnsley. I played 272 games and it was a good time. I always get a good reception at Barnsley and I have a good relationship with the fans but it doesn't mean they don't want to beat me. There is a little bit of emotion but I have been back a lot of times now. You just have to focus on the game and I will be concentrating on being Ipswich Town manager.
"There are probably not that many people left at Barnsley who remember me. Rimmo (club legend Norman Rimmington) is my best pal there. He's been a mentor to me throughout my career and I still speak to him regularly on the phone. Whenever I go back to Oakwell I will sit with him, not anyone else. I thought what the club did for him on his 90th birthday with all the celebrations and the standing ovation was fantastic. It showed the class of the club."